Bringing ideas to life requires starting from the end and working your way backwards in your planning, then making sure you find the time and resources to make the plan happen.”
Shana Haynie is the Co-Founder, COO and Creative Director (she can’t seem to choose just one hat!) at Vulpine Interactive: A Social Media Marketing Agency for Exciting Brands. Personally, she loves to lose herself in creative projects and has a habit of analyzing people, pictures, words, and situations.
Where did the idea for Vulpine Interactive come from?
Vulpine Interactive was born out of a need to change direction from a previous business model and idea. Visualizing and bringing to life the brand itself was both a cathartic and enlightening experience. Ultimately, I had a direction, and worked with my partner to create an exciting brand built for exciting brands.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually get in to work between 10am and 11am, depending on whether I need to drop my son off at daycare or not, but my day usually starts around 7:30am with coffee, breakfast, gym, and getting ready. Once my morning routine is complete, I pack up lunch, feed the dog, and walk to WeWork.
As the main person in charge of operations, my work day always starts in our project management software, Asana. I check all of my employee’s task lists and organize my own for the day for the first 20-30 minutes. I also check my email and make sure there are no fires that need to be put out.
Then, the rest of my day is usually jumping around from one task to another, sometimes focusing on over 20 different brands or projects in a single day, which can be exhausting. In order to keep myself feeling productive, I try to structure my tasks so that I get as many of the small things done as possible in the early part of the day. I leave longer tasks that require me to get heavily involved for after lunch. For me, it’s easier to settle in for a longer project after I feel like I’ve already marked a lot of stuff off of my to-do list.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Everything begins with a goal and a plan.
Someone smart once said, “Ideas are easy, execution is hard.” This is very true.
Bringing ideas to life requires starting from the end and working your way backwards in your planning, then making sure you find the time and resources to make the plan happen.
I can be a little overly self-indulgent while doing the planning for things because I enjoy having all the details figured out (I’m a bit of a control freak in that sense), so sometimes I get stuck spending too much time on the details instead of the big picture, but that’s why I have my CEO / husband / partner to be the visionary.
I just make sure we have a roadmap to follow, and keep checks and balances in place along the way.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
A trend that really excites me is the move toward a more connected world. A place where what I receive in my email and my social media will automatically be updated to my calendar and my Asana (if needed). A place where Amazon Alexa will tell me what to expect on any given day while I’m working out in the morning, order my prescriptions for me, and tell me about any relevant news that only I would care about before I even get to the office.
That’s all very exciting to me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me more productive is making sure that I keep a very organized structure to my company. I would be lost without my tasks and my team would be lost without the processes I’ve worked so hard to document.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid of what people think, and don’t be afraid about being wrong. Being wrong should not be embarrassing, and nobody really gives a shit about you, what you think, or what you do. You will only hold yourself back if you don’t speak up and be heard.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The best kinds of music are 160+ BPM.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Networking! We wouldn’t have a business if we relied 100% on our website. While we have seen some decent success with blogging and content, getting out there, going to events, hosting events, and being present in our local community has been extremely beneficial for us.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Again, hosting events, attending events and sponsoring events has been really great for Vulpine Interactive. We have a local Meetup Collective with 10,000+ entrepreneurs and marketers. Our email list isn’t even close to as large as our Meetup presence.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Personally, I’ve had many failures as an entrepreneur. To be completely honest, I don’t even feel like I’m successful right now. My company still has a very long way to go and sometimes it feels impossible that we will even get there, but we keep pushing, pivoting and optimizing. Eventually, we will have something to show for it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Ha! Once you start thinking like an entrepreneur, the ideas literally never end. One idea that I had which will probably never come to fruition by my own hands is the idea of translating a brand’s color palette (the colors they use on their website and other marketing materials) into non-traditional products like whiteboard markers or nail polish.
It’s probably a silly idea, but sometimes I wish I could use the specific Vulpine Interactive brand colors for all of our whiteboarding sessions, or paint my nails consistently in “Vulpine Purple” or whatever.
If you can print T-shirts with your brand logo and colors, why not translate that into other forms of colorful brand representation?
I want all experiences people have with our brand to be in alignment, but that’s because I’m crazy like that.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
On a night out in Miami with my husband / business partner. Even though we almost always talk about work, it’s nice to do it over coconut martinis in paradise every once in a while.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Asana is my life blood. I would not survive without it. I tested a lot of other project management tools, but Asana was the best for what we are doing.
But, Asana coupled with the automation tool Zapier is what makes me giddy. I love automating processes and making workflows more efficient. This is what excites me about my job haha.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book? JUST ONE? Ha.
My recent go-to recommendation is a book I haven’t even finished yet, but the topic is so, so important that I always have to say it. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by the Heath Brothers.
What is your favorite quote?
As someone who owns a company that focuses heavily on social media, I feel like quotes have lost a bit of their charm.
But, if I had to pick one that is relevant to me, I’d say “This world is but a canvas to our imagination” by Henry Thoreau is a good one.
• Know your goals, then work out the details. The details are going to be the path you take to get to the end. Conversely, have a plan and understand the process, but don’t grow too attached. Being able to shift and optimize as necessary is the only way to get the results you need to survive.
• Always be educating yourself: Read books, listen to podcasts, ask questions, and experiment. Never start thinking you know everything, because odds are, you don’t. There is always room for growth!
• Everything in life (and in business) is just a long hard work montage. Except in life, it ain’t pretty and it ain’t fast. And actually, there is no montage: you truly have to do the hard work. Suck it up and do the work, learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid of what anyone thinks.
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Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.